Cladistii (bichirs) > Polypteriformes
(Bichirs) > Polypteridae
Etymology: Polypterus: Greek, poly = a lot of + Greek, pteron = wing, fin (Ref. 45335); mokelembembe: Named after Mokele-mbembe, a mythological creature believed by some to be a sauropod dinosaur that has survived the extinction of dinosaurs at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in the central Congo basin; the name is chosen as an allusion to the archaic na
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; demersal; depth range - m (Ref. ), usually - m (Ref. ). Tropical; 0°C -
Africa: middle Congo River basin in Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo (Ref. 56367).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 23.5 cm SL (female)
Morphology | Morphometrics
(total): 6 - 8;
(total): 0. subcylindrical and elongate body, becoming increasingly laterally comressed over its caudal third (Ref. 563367). Head is slighlty flattened dorsoventrally; mouth terminal; lips fleshy; snout comparatively acute (Ref. 56367). Internostril distance 11.6-13.7% of head length (Ref. 56367). Number of dorsal finlets: 6-8 (Ref. 56367). Wide first dorsal-fin spine, 6.4-8.1% of head length (Ref. 56367). Pectoral fins broadly rounded, almost circular, not reaching level of first dorsal spine (Ref. 56367). Ganoid scales (Ref. 56367): 57-60 lateral-line scales, 32-38 scales around body, 32-37 predorsal scales, 42-47 prepelvic scales (Ref. 56367). Visible part of body scales approximately square on flanks and rhomboid on caudal peduncle (Ref. 56367). Slightly elongated lateral-line pores are located on atnerior portion of each scale in the first half and in the central part of the second half of lateral line (Ref. 56367). In preserved specimens, dorsal two thirds of body dark grey overall, with several broad and ill-defined dark grey to black bands and blotches; these dark blotches and bands may converge on dorsal third of body to form braod saddles on anterior half of body in front of first finlet (Ref. 56367). No abrupt transition between the dark dorso-lateral body coloration and the light beige ventral coloration (Ref. 56367). A single large black blotch on pectoral fin base (Ref. 56367).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Schliewen, U.K. and F. Schäfer, 2006. Polypterus mokelembembe, a new species of bichir from the central Congo River basin (Actinopterygii: Cladistia: Polypteridae). Zootaxa 1129:23-36. (Ref. 56367)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 124695)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5002 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00525 (0.00267 - 0.01033), b=3.07 (2.89 - 3.25), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.2 ±0.5 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (19 of 100) .